April 16, 2005

The Dream Store

The journey to the dream store is an almost endless slog uphill through boot–seizing mud, the little box clutched tight in your hand. “This is impossible,” you moan, and only with those secret words does the scene shift – you’re at the cashier’s station, trying to convince the store manager.

“This box is empty.” You shake it in his face. He takes it from your hand and leaves you alone, bereft.

You want to tell the others how badly the store has treated you – every disc defective – half the boxes empty – but no one pays attention. They’re all watching the dreams that shimmer on the walls.

Your tears dissolve the dreams, and the watchers turn to you crossly. “What are you doing to us?” The walls of the store itself begin to dissolve, until the manager returns with a new box for you, and the store returns to itself.

Smiling, the manager hands you the box. Your hand sags unexpectedly under the weight of what’s inside. Then you’re back at the bottom of the hill, lugging that heavy little box, too heavy for its size.

It will be an endless slog through mud just to show him that the box is empty. But you remember something: “He smiled kindly,” the muddy hill echoes.

You know that by the tenth step you will have forgotten this. But with each of the first nine steps you say to yourself, “This time I’ll remember…”